Wednesday, August 14, 2013

River Swimming and Blackberry Picking

Mike and I went to the canyon to pick blackberries last weekend.  It was about 95 degrees in the shade when we arrived. I picked the first batch of berries, while Mike started to pull some puncture vine that he saw on the river bar. Then I made dinner while Mike mowed the yard (fire protection). We had yummy Bunchgrass Beef burgers with turnip and beet greens for dinner and sat out on the porch in the balmy evening, watching the smoky sunset and being lulled by the river rushing by. 
"I'll help pick berries if you help pull puncture vine..."
Early the next morning, while it was still cool and before the yellow-jackets got busy in the berry bushes, we picked four more gallons of blackberries. 
Early morning berry picking
After that it was more weed pulling. The low-growing puncture vine sends out long runners covered in yellow flowers that mature into hard sharp-thorned seeds, 'goat heads'that can poke right through the bottom of your shoe, your dog's foot, etc.  We're hoping to get some weevils that act as biocontrols on this aggressive plant by eating the seeds, stems and leaves. In the mean time it's pull and bag, pull and bag....

That's a lot of puncture vine we pulled....
Maturing 'goat head' seeds
 I think Mike would have kept digging weeds all day, but I mutinied, insisting that we allow sufficient time to wallow, dive, float, and splash in the river. River swimming at the Magpie Ranch is some of the best there is. Deep eddies you can jump into off rock cliffs. Rowdy rapids that spit you out into long channels where you float lazily downstream. The water is the perfect temperature and when you lay in the shallows, the current feels like a natural jacuzzi bubbling and rushing over you. Oh how I love that lovely lively water.
Sara doesn't want to get out of the river

From Sara at Magpie Ranch, home of Bunchgrass Beef.